Kick didn't lose game for Seymour
After missing a potential game-tying field goal in the closing seconds Friday night, Eagles junior kicker JJ Jerman hung his head.
But the kicker, who’s been a weapon for the Eagles all year with his touchback-inducing kickoffs, field-flipping punts and accurate PATs and field goals, isn’t to blame.
In fact, he set the team up perfectly to win the game.
With Seymour leading 38-35 in the fourth, Jerman smashed an incredibly high punt from inside Mountaineers territory to within Heritage’s 10 yard line. There his teammates, who were waiting for the sky-touching punt, downed it around the 2 — meaning the Mountaineers would need an improbable 98-yard drive to take the lead.
Unfortunately for Jerman and his teammates in blue and gold, that’s exactly what happened.
“We put them down on the two-yard line,” Seymour head coach Jim Moore said after the game.
“You’re not supposed to let them drive 98 yards.”
Heritage used a thunder-and-lighting style running attack, getting the power from bruising back Orlando Bledsoe and the speed from shifty back Brandon Cutler. Eventually the pair set up a 26-yard go-ahead score from teammate Khalil Abuhani with just under two minutes left in the game.
“(JJ) did a good job (kicking and punting in the game),” Moore said. “It was just one of those things.
“He’s kicked well all night. (He’s) kicked well all season. It was just one of those misses.”
There were several other mistakes, turnovers and problems Seymour could point to on the night that were greater than the long missed kick at the end.
Seymour at one point held a 21-6 lead, but a special teams blunder on a pooched kickoff, recovered by kicking Heritage, and a fumble returned for a Mountaineers’ TD made it easy for the visitors to not only get back in the game, but swing momentum their way by halftime.
The Eagles defense also gave up critical third-down conversions late, including a 3rd-and-11 conversion on a running play in the final Heritage touchdown drive.
Run defense has been an Achilles’ heel for Seymour at time this season, something Moore attributes to his undersized defensive line. Trevor McGlothin, a 6-6, 370-pound lineman who showed last year the impact he could have on an opponents run game, is out with an injury and was walking with crutches on the Eagles’ sideline Friday night.
It’s of particular concern with the upcoming four-game slate featuring teams that all have extremely efficient running games with star power in their backfields.
Jefferson County next week has lost two straight, but Dearies Jones is among the conference’s best running backs, and he helped lead the Pats to a 36-14 win over the Eagles last year.
The next week Seymour will face rival South-Doyle, which features junior Jocquez Bruce, another of the IMAC’s best backs. Then it’s on to Matt Thompson and Morristown East and finally Sevier County, where the Eagles will face the Bears’ duo of Joseph Hayes and Dorian Banks.